SuperSport pulls the plug, plunges KPL into darkness

By alex wafula
Apr 07, 2017
  • The blame game after SuperSport withdraws sponsorship of the Kenya Premier League. (SNA. File Photo)

After two weeks without live Kenyan Premier League matches, SuperSport has finally pulled the plug by announcing it has terminated its contract with KPL with immediate effect.

In a brief statement, SuperSport said they have come to the decision following KPL’s breach of the Licence Agreement entered into by the parties.

According to the South African country company which has been in partnership with KPL since 2009, the Sports Disputes Tribunal ruling over the expansion of the top tier league contradicted an earlier position by the KPL.

SuperSport have raised issue with the ruling that KPL is merely an agent of the federation contrary to what KPL had told them in the beginning that they are the owners of the league and mandated to run it.

“You warranted to us contractually that the KPL is the only body recognized by FIFA to run, administer and be responsible for the administration of professional club football in Kenya, known as the Kenyan Premier League and any of its successor in the title, which warranty is directly contradicted by the relevant SDT ruling and the views of FIFA.”

“We submit, despite your section to the contrary, that ruling by the SDT subordinates your authority to run the Kenyan Premier League to the Football Kenya Federation (FKF) and therefore you have failed to and cannot in the future grant such warranty to us."

"You have furthermore not taken any steps to challenge that ruling,” the South African company said in a letter written to KPL CEO Jack Oguda and copied to chairman Ambrose Rachier, signed by legal advisor Philip Seleke.

KPL have torn into the federation

In a response, KPL have torn into the federation especially the decision to expand the top tier league.

In a letter signed by Oguda, KPL accuse Mwendwa of unilaterally trying to impose his pre-election promise of an 18-team league without respecting the existing agreement between the federation and league managers.

It has also accused the Sports Disputes Tribunal of contravening their own ruling after earlier saying the agreement signed in September 2015 was valid, then went on to state that KPL are answerable to the federation and not a lone-standing entity.

KPL is set to have an Executive Committee meeting on Monday while FKF is set to issue its stance on the matter on Saturday morning.

FKF president Nick Mwendwa on social media site Twitter has also announced a meeting with KPL officials will be done on Tuesday next week.

However, there has been disquiet between KPL and Supersport since the season began.

Sources privy to proceedings between the two parties say league sponsors SportPesa were calling more shots than the broadcast partners and that ruffled some feathers.

It is said KPL were adamant to move fixtures as requested by SuperSport to accommodate live matches, something that irked the broadcasters.

A high level meeting pitting East Africa General Manager Auka Gacheo, SuperSport Africa boss Andre Venter and CEO Gideon Khobane with KPL officials delivered the verdict.

Huge loss for the local game

It is a huge loss for the local game especially for the players who had been presented with a chance to showcase their talent across the continent.

Players from neighboring Uganda and Rwanda were also flooding the league with the sole attraction of being showcased live on TV.

The new development will now also cause job cuts with SuperSport Kenya having employed over 50 individuals while tens of others are contracted.

The company also has a huge establishment at Jamhuri Park.

Observers though project that SuperSport might rescind the decision especially noting Kenya was the only market they had remained within the East African region having lost Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania to Azam TV.